Hello Hearters! Thank you so much for clicking on this article! So as many of you know, my platform is in the transition from being topical to more spiritual and faith-driven content. This is a transition I've been wanting to do for a long time and now I'm finally putting it into action.

I recently mentioned the beginning of two summer studies I'll be writing about. Today's article is for The Girl's Guide, where I will be discussing topics and putting them into a biblical perspective. This first one is all about friendships.

I'll be attending Cedarville University this upcoming fall. As a gift, they sent me (and all incoming students) a Jeremiah Study Bible in NKJV. This Bible has been so helpful and I'm excited to share what I've learned with this resource. With that all being said, let's jump in, shall we?

{Proverbs 17:17}

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time." CSB

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." NKJV

Relationships built on love and fidelity are a rare treasure. The friends are faithful in times of adversity as well as prosperity (18:24). - NKJV commentary

This one was so eye-opening to me. We all know this verse. Most of us have even memorized it. It's an easy verse, but have we taken the time to study it?

What I love seeing is these two translations are so similar, word for word basically, except for the last: "Adversity". I'm not going to lie, I had to look it up and I'm glad I did.

Dictionary.com says Adversity ➡ Adverse or unfavorable fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress. So, adversity means tough times, evil, misfortune. When I searched for the definition, Dictionary.com had a sentence that I absolutely love. It says, "Friends will show their true colors in times of adversity." I mean, how true is that???

Here's the first point: Good friends will be there for you and love you during rough times and misfortune. Those who don't aren't your true friends.

{Proverbs 18:24}

"One with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother." CSB

"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." NKJV

The phrase "must himself be friendly" may also be translated "may come to ruin," meaning that a person with numerous friends may find himself or herself in trouble. Having one true friend is much better than having many apparent friends. - NKJV commentary

To be completely honest, this one blew my mind. I never noticed this verse. The translations are fairly different, but there is one part that stays the same: "but there is one friend who stays/sticks closer than a brother."

Who else was hit hard by this one? I don't know about you, but I feel so much happier with fewer friends and now I know why.

Here's point two: You don't need a lot of friends. Having one or a couple is enough.

{Proverbs 27:9}

"Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel." CSB

"Ointment and perfume delight in the heart, and the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel." NKJV

While this one doesn't have commentary, there is still so much we can learn from this verse. Which, can we talk about how awesome the word "sweetness" is in this verse in both translations?

Let's think about it, we're connecting "sweetness" to "counsel" here. I don't know about you, but I am always seeking advice. When "sweetness" is added to this verse, we can see how counsel from friends is compared to joy. Friendly advice usually makes us happy, right?

Point three: Have friends who are willing to help you by hearing you out and gives you godly advice.

{John 15:13}

"No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends." CSB

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." NKJV

Jesus said that His followers are beloved friends, and by laying down His life on their behalf, He has already shown ultimate love. - NKJV commentary

"Ultimate love." Isn't the amazing? Jesus laid down His life for us and if we have learned anything in Sunday school, we are to look to Him as a role model, right? Be more like Jesus. So here's the question: Are your friends willing to sacrifice for you? And I'm not talking about their life.

Are they willing to give up some of their time to be in community with you? Are they willing to hear you out and help you work through problems despite what they might be going through? Are they willing to be there to help pick you back up?

If they aren't, maybe it's time to re-evaluate that friendship. And I know that might be hard, but ask yourself this: Are they supporting me like I'm supporting them? If they aren't, that's when the friendship needs to be looked at at a different angle. You can't support others when you don't get that support in return.

Point four is: Your friends will sacrifice that time for you and not lead you astray while doing so.

{1 Thessalonians 5:11}

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing." CSB

"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." NKJV

The final verse is such an important one. I love how these translations say to encourage and comfort one another. Those two really go hand in hand, don't they? The NKJV version says "edify" which means "to instruct or benefit, especially morally or spiritually; uplift."

Now is the time to ask yourself if your friend is building you up or tearing you down. If they aren't building you up, that can lead to or already may be a toxic friendship.

The last and final point is: Great friends will build you up (iron sharpens iron), not tear you down.

Now that we have covered all the verses, I'm going to ask you something important: Are you being a good friend?

Are you: There for your friends during all seasons? Willing to give advice and listen? Sacrifice time for them? Building them up or tearing them down?

Don't re-evaluate their friendships with you, but your friends with them, too!

Here are some signs of a toxic friendship:

  • They only seek your counsel but don't help in return
  • Constantly want something from you
  • Break plans/promises constantly
  • Prove to be unreliable
  • Only want your time but will not give up time for you
  • Talk poorly about you behind your back
  • Constantly talk down to you or unfairly to you (use hurtful words instead of encouraging words)

That's all I have for you today, loves. This article took a lot of time in the making and I've been a bit busy with school stuff for this upcoming semester. But it is finally up and I hope it helped in some way shape or form. Thank you for your patience, friends! And happy Sunday!

Remember to keep smiling. You never know who will need.


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